At Religion Dispatches, Candace Chellew-Hodge discusses the new Pew Research survey dealing with LGBT folks and religion that I cited in my posting earlier today. Here's her commentary about the finding that eight in ten LGBT Americans rank Catholics (along with Muslims and Mormons) near the top of the list as religious groups most unfriendly to those who are gay:
LGBT people find Muslims the most unfriendly of the religions, with Mormons, Catholics and Evangelical Churches following. 53% found non-Evangelical Protestant churches either the most friendly or neutral toward LGBT people.
The Catholic finding is the most—and least—surprising to me. Surprising because a recent Quinnipiac poll found 54% of Catholic laity support same-sex marriage, while just 38% oppose it. Of course, it's not surprising that the Catholic church appears unfriendly overall, since its leadership, even under the new Pope Francis, remains staunchly committed to Catholic doctrine declaring LGBT people "intrinsically disordered." Those aren't exactly welcoming words.
So, who can blame LGBT people for eschewing religion altogether when the overall message from many religions—aided by the media constantly turning to the most homophobic religious commentators when they cover the subject of God and gays—is that God doesn't just hate them, but will send them to a fiery hell for all eternity?
In the real world, a great deal depends on messaging, doesn't it? (Hint to Catholic pastoral leaders: if you want your message to be about welcoming everyone, you will look at how Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, is now behaving--and then you'll do the opposite. See my January posting about Sample's episcopal installation, which was aglitter with bling designed, one assumes, to make the eyes go agog. And nothing in the world gay about that glittering bling, is there? Just asking!)